"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 22, 2010
First Day of Autumn!!!
There is a story in the Bible found in chapter six of both Mark and John. It's the same occurrence, but John just added a few more details in his account than Mark did. In the retelling of it, I'm going to go back and forth between the two writers.
Jesus sent the twelve disciples out two by two to minister. So they went to various towns and villages preaching repentance. They also cast out many demons and anointed many with oil and they were healed. I'm not sure how long they were gone, but after a while they all met and gathered with Jesus, and told Him what they had done and what they'd taught. He told them to go to a deserted place and rest for a while, because there were many people coming and going and they didn't even have time to eat.
So they got on a boat and departed to a deserted place in order to be by themselves. But a multitude of people saw them departing on the boat, and ran to the destination by foot and arrived before Jesus and the disciples did. When Jesus came off the boat and saw the multitude of people, His heart was moved with compassion, so He began teaching them.
Earlier it said that the disciples hadn't had time to eat, so after some time I'm guessing they were getting really hungry and beginning to wonder how long Jesus was going to teach the crowd. The disciples came to Jesus and said, "This is a deserted place and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go to the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread, for they have nothing to eat."
Jesus looked at Philip and said, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?"
The answer was, "Do you want us to go buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"
I'm sure they were thinking it would be a whole lot easier for Jesus to just send them away and let them fend for themselves than it would be for them to have to round up enough money in order to go buy bread for everyone. They may have been wondering if Jesus wanted them to take up a collection and let everyone pitch in to cover the cost. Also, this was supposed to be their vacation; a time for them to get away to a deserted place and rest. Now Jesus wanted them to figure out how to get enough bread to feed 5000 people. They probably had no desire to walk to all the neighboring villages to try and round up that much bread.
Andrew told him that there was a lad there who had five barley loaves of bread and two fish, but what was that among so many people? He may have been thinking that wasn't even enough to feed the twelve disciples. Or perhaps he was thinking if Jesus knew that was all the food present, He would dismiss the crowd and ask them to leave.
But Jesus told them to bring the food to Him, then have the people sit in groups of a hundred or fifty. He then took the bread and fish, looked up to heaven and gave thanks to the Father. He began breaking the loaves and handing them out to the disciples, as well as the fish. Jesus had them distribute the food to the crowd. I don't know how it worked exactly. I don't know if Jesus broke of pieces of bread and divided the 5 loaves between the 12 men, then as they began breaking off hunks to give to each person, the loaves never got smaller and the fish never decreased. The disciples may have given a basket with some bread and fish to each group then had them pass it around. But the scripture says that there was enough where everyone could eat as much as they wanted. There was no food rationing needed, for everyone ate until they were filled.
After everyone had finished eating, Jesus told the disciples to go through the crowd and gather up all the leftovers. "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." There may have been a two-fold reason for them doing so. First, He may have wanted the disciples to see that not only was there enough to feed the entire crowd of 5000, but there was food leftover. Jesus may have been trying to teach them a lesson that He not only met the immediate need, but He could provide more than what was needed. The disciples gathered up twelve baskets of food. That was more than they started with!
Secondly, Jesus knew that the men had gone without food due to being so busy in ministry and He knew what lay ahead for them. Perhaps He was meeting their future need for food by providing them with leftovers. The disciples may have needed the bread and fish for the journey ahead of them.
Many times we look at our needs and they seem too big and difficult and we see no possible solutions in sight. The disciples looked at the crowd of 5000 and knew that it was going to take a lot of food to feed that many people. What were 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish compared to the need? The only visible solution looked piddly and small compared to the gigantic problem.
What they didn't realize is that God could take what was available and multiply it in order to provide a miracle. The bread and fish that the young boy had brought with him looked insignificant compared to the hunger of 5000 people. God not only multiplied the food, but everyone was able to eat until they were filled, with food leftover. He not only met the immediate need, but he provided more than enough.
Too often we limit God because our situation seems impossible and too difficult. We can't imagine how He could possibly meet our need. Our resources may be limited and we see no visible solution.
But if we will give God the little piddly thing we hold in our hand, He can take it and multiply it and provide more than enough to meet our need. We don't have to figure out how God is going to answer, we only have to put our faith and trust in Him and wait and see what He does. Miracles didn't occur only while Jesus was upon earth 2000 years ago, but they still happen today. What miracle do you need in your life today? Just as Jesus multiplied the small amount of food to feel the crowd, He can do the impossible for you right now.
I'm curious about some of the details about this event. The boy with the fish and bread must have taken them to the disciples. It just doesn't seem likely the disciples just happened to notice his food, and told Jesus. Maybe the disciples just looked hungry, or the boy overheard people grumbling. And he came to them and said, "I've got a little food; you want it?"
Before Jesus was able to share the fish and bread to fill all 5000 people, one boy must have had the generosity and faith to give up his food to the disciples.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
12 (1 oz.) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
6 cups powdered sugar
In a small saucepan, combine chocolate and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Spoon chocolate mixture into a medium bowl; stir in sour cream. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at medium speed with a mixer until frosting is smooth.
When my nephew, Jared, was about 4 years old, his family went to visit my oldest sister and her family. My sister had bought a big box of popsicles for the kids to have while they were there. After Jared and his family left to go home, one of my older nephews opened his closet and found many popsicle sticks in the back of his closet. Come to find out, while there visiting, Jared had been sneaking popsicles from the freezer and hiding in the closet to eat them. "Be sure your 'sins' will find you out!"
Jesus not only meets our needs, but He gives us more than enough so we can have leftovers.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon